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world, richly furnished with their Creator's bounty, and their every sentiment hallowed by reverence for his character. In such a state of things there could be no different and jarring interests,-no opposite and conflicting passions, but one broad principle of harmony, and one pervading feeling of brotherly love. Every thing in nature moreover would have conformed to the morality of the scene-her

present beauties would have been more attractive, that is, they would have been so without any admixture from the curse of sin, and the glory of the universal creation would have appeared still more illustrious because more distinctly discerned. Gentle as the summer's breeze, and refreshing as the breath of even would have been this world's atmosphere; or when the thunder of the Omnipotent might have been pleased to reverberate from the heavens, it would not have alarmed us. Alarm can exist only where sin is felt to reign, but in the world which our imagination is now picturing there is supposed to be no sin. The tales of romance with which our world unhappily is deluged, attempt to set before us scenes as happy as if man had never fallen; and whilst these are baneful in their tendency, as representing human nature falsely, and its morality as perfect,—to meditate on the supposed condition of man in a state of innocency may be expected to be beneficial, as pointing out by contrast the purity and happiness of the one condition thus supposed, in contradistinction from the vice and misery of his present actual state. We have been led into this train of remark to make way for another, connected with the meaning and the interpretation of the text. Had the former state of innocency been maintained on the part of man, it is easy to conceive that our intellectual and spiritual powers would have been different from what they now are-Man indeed would have been altogether a different being, capable by acceptable homage of glorifying God; and by means of an unvitiated and unclouded faculty of perception, would have apprehended the nature and importance of his connexion with immortality.-In other phraseology, instead of darkness light would have reigned in his “inward parts." But viewing him as he is, we find that this is far from being true, and the circumstance that he is not brings us direct to the Saviour's address to the people, grounded upon the supposed condition of fallen man—a condition, wherein he is awfully liable to mistake and misapprehension, either from a want of sufficiency of light, or by trusting to the guidance of that which is only imaginary or perverted vision. The following things may perhaps fitly engage our attention, and along with the teaching of the Spirit, (and may that teaching be imparted,) will certainly profit our souls.

I. The supposition implied—“If the light that is in thee be darkness.”

II. The true characteristics of such a state, where the supposition is realized—“ How great is that darkness !"

And here it will become you particularly to mark the force of the Saviour's expression, “ If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness !” The word “light” in this passage is evidently intended to signify the light of the mind or understanding. From natural objects, our Lord goes on to illustrate spiritual objects. Hence in the context, we find Him speaking first of the light of the natural eye, by the medium of which we perceive natural things. If this

eye be perfect in its structure we are prepared to see so much the more distinctly. “ The light of


the body is the eye,” says Christ—that is, the seat of sensible vision is the eye. We do not see by means of the

neither do we hear by means of the eye, but we see with the eye and hear with the ear. Every faculty is in its proper place, and adapted to its proper design. If therefore the light of the body is the eye, the inference will be equally plain, that if the eye be single-if it be clear from vitiating humours that would distort the medium of vision, the whole body is then in a state of light as to external objects. But if, on the other hand, the eye be evil-sealed up with vitiating humours, will not the inference be equally plain that the whole body, as to the same external objects, is then in a state of darkness ? I say the whole body, inasmuch as if the eye fail to give us light, no other part of the body is likely to do it; and this brings us at once to the doctrine contained in the text, and in substance the following—“ If the light that is in thee,” or considered to be in thee; or if that faculty which ought to be your light be in itself darkness, or a faculty sealed up, or a faculty perverted, what is your condition but one of darkness ?-the greatness of that darkness we may afterwards explain. Let us in the mean time, by way of illustrating the supposition referred to, enquire when it may be said that the light that is in us or supposed to be in us is darkness.

1. When the understanding is blind, and unable to apprehend spiritual things.

By the understanding here I mean spiritual perception, and this faculty of the mind may be said to answer the same purpose in the moral constitution of man that the eye does in the bodily part of his organic structure ; at the same time, just as when the eye sees things in a way

different from what is true in nature, or as correspondent to fact, so the understanding, though given for the purpose of apprehending higher objects than those of nature may not be able to do so. Is this the fault of the Creator ? I answer the inquiry by instituting another. Is it likely that any thing of the kind should have been the fault of a perfect Creator? If in the physical world perfection reigns undisturbed, and is seen in the minutest of his operations, is it to be expected that he will be less perfect in the productions of the moral world? The workmanship of man may be incomplete, or wanting in the harmony of its parts, but not so with God: and we have his own testimony

for its truth in that it is said “God made all things very good,” and man especially as partaking in his formation mentally of his own image. It is true that as yet we have not sufficiently answered the question primarily instituted; for if the understanding be actually blind to spiritual things, how has that blindness been superinduced ? And now we reply to the question direct. When the Almighty had pronounced all things to be good, and when man was considered as perfect, it was when he was at first created. The glory of his perfection belonged to God, the misery and consequent disorder of the fall to man himself. Once therefore his understanding was light, but now that understanding is clouded. The apostle traced this kind of blindness as standing in connexion with a state of moral alienation from the life of God: Having," says he, “the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the blindness of your hearts.” Equally to the same purpose is another of his declarations, that “ the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." Here is proof enough of the change which sin has produced in the faculties of the mind. There has never been any change in the spiritual things themselves of which the apostle is speaking. From the first they have always been spiritually discerned, and the only way to account for the want of this discernment on the part of man, is to consider him now, rather as a natural than as a spiritual man. Before he can again be considered spiritual in the sense of the apostle, he must be remodeled by the energy of Him, who originally called him into being. Thus though we possess the faculty of understanding, amid the wreck and ruin of the fall, it is beclouded by sin. Originally it came pure from the hands of the Creator, but at this very moment in the unregenerated man, it is covered with a film through which it cannot penetrate, until further light break in from on high to scatter the gathered darkness and quicken our apprehension of spiritual things. Nor do we speak of this condition as limited or partial only in its extent—all men are in this state of darkness by nature; and were it otherwise, there could be no necessity for any further supernatural light. But it is the uniform testimony of the word of truth that such light is needed. The faculty of understanding requires to be cleared of its darkness, and needs to be quickened from its dulness, so that one of the conditions in which the supposition of the text is realized, is that very condition in which we are all at our birth. Education cannot remedy the evil. It may enlighten for the purposes of science, or qualify for the departments of business, but it can neither turn the heart into affection for God, nor impart to us a vision distinct enough to apprehend Him in his holiness. You will therefore bear

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